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News :: Human Rights
First Report From Mayday DC/I-News Relief Effort in New Orleans
11 Sep 2005
New Orleans – The Mayday DC/Infoshop News relief van arrived in New Orleans this afternoon and immediately started distributing supplies outside the Masjib Bilal Mosque in the Algiers neighborhood, across the Mississippi River from downtown. The van's crew includes activist Jamie “Bork” Loughner, two EMTs, and one street medic. They managed to get
through several checkpoints without any problems.
First Report From Mayday DC/I-News Relief Effort in New Orleans

September 9, 2005; 6:45 pm CDT

by Chuck Munson
Infoshop News (news.infoshop.org)

New Orleans – The Mayday DC/Infoshop News relief van arrived in New
Orleans this afternoon and immediately started distributing supplies
outside the Masjib Bilal Mosque in the Algiers neighborhood, across the
Mississippi River from downtown. The van's crew includes activist Jamie
“Bork” Loughner, two EMTs, and one street medic. They managed to get
through several checkpoints without any problems.

As soon as the van arrived, neighborhood residents who are doing
volunteer relief work at the mosque started helping the Mayday DC
volunteers set up their wellness tent, which is being dubbed the “Mayday
Mutual Aid Medical Station.” The wellness center will be open during the
hours that the curfew isn't in effect.

The residents of the neighborhood say that the van is the first medical
help of any kind that has been set up in the community since the
hurricane and the floods. As soon as the wellness tent was set up,
several residents and a pair of levee workers dropped in to ask about
tetanus shots, blood pressure medicine, and insulin. The streets are
being patrolled by the military and private security companies,
including OmniPinnacle and Instar. There have been some quick drops of
supplies, but Algiers residents are angry that the aid so far has been
condescending and inadequate. The government response so far has
confirmed the widespread feeling that the local, state and federal
governments have abandoned the people living in Algiers. People also
feel like they aren't being offered any future alternatives.

Bork reports that some of the police are saying that the corporations
are going to exploit the situation. One sheriff told her that FEMA and
Red Cross are hindering the relief efforts to the poor.

She notes that there is a critical shortage of insulin in the neighborhood.

Infoshop News talked to several local residents, a street medic, and an
EMT. Imanda Brown, Rsuaw Diarra, and others have spent most of the
afternoon cleaning the mosque and setting up relief for their community.

Imanda Brown is a resident of Algiers:

“The situation here is detrimental. There is a lack of health care. Our
own city officials aren't helping--they are making the situation worse.
They aren't bringing food in or providing health care of any kind. The
residents have had to rely on people from out of state. The children are
in need of help. People are streaming in from other parishes and parts
of town. Is the government helping the people or hindering the people?
Do they have some kind of ulterior motive?

“They say they are helping people, but you have to call a number to get
help. How are people without phone service supposed to call a number to
get help? People in the community are donating their own personal items
to help each other.”

“Other parishes are closed off. You need an ID to travel—how many people
have ID? The curfew is hurting efforts to get supplies and help. Can't
get ice. They are blocking people from arranging help. The government
does nothing now and has done nothing in the past to help us. They don't
care about educating the children. People who aren't educated can't help
themselves. All these relief people want to go on TV and show how they
are helping people. Where were you when the storm hit? The officials
were in hiding. They don't care as long as their families are OK”

“We are very fortunate that some people are caring.”

“There is no insurance for the people. They push people to the side.
They elect people who take care of the people with money. People are
sitting in their comfortable homes. They aren't putting up community
centers. People here don't have money to rebuild.”

Rsuaw Diarra is a 12-year resident of Algiers. She wants outside people
to know that her mother, the storyteller Queen Mother Suma Diarra, is
“is alive and kicking.”

“I'm one of the survivors of the hurricane and the flood. This is the
first help we've seen since the hurricane. I've been lucky as a person
who is somewhere between poor and middle class. We were left here. Maybe
they wanted it this way for us.”

“People need medication. There's no way in or out. The curfew makes it
hard to move around. We've got senior citizens here. The government is
taking their time bringing in food. At least the soldiers stopped the
looting and killing. You can't even imagine this situation.”

“The missionaries treated us like dirt. They dropped stuff in a muddy
field and then left. These places are hard to get to with soldiers
telling you where you can't go. How are you supposed to know about a
drop in some field when you have to walk a long way to get the stuff?”

“I've had a pain in my stomach for several day, so I'm grateful for the
herbal remedies that arrived (via the Mayday DC van). I'm a teacher at a
local alternative school. We are trying to organize education for the
kids in the neighborhood. They say that the schools will be unavailable
for a year, which is bad for kids who are already under served.”

“We tried to get a U-Haul truck so we could move my mother and her
stuff. We gave up on that because the police will see us returning to
the neighborhood with a U-Haul truck and shoot us as looters.”

“There are around 500 people still left here in Algiers, including
families, kids and elderly. We have running water but no electricity.
There are still dead bodies lying in the street.”

Malik Rahim, New Orleans Organizer of Public Housing Tenants:

“All progressive people need to come together and address this problem.
A people's health clinic is up and running here. We are going to set up
a people's school and a people's cultural center. It's important for
people to understand that people are here and they shouldn't be abandoned.”

Noah is an EMT with the Mayday DC relief van:

“We drove through Jefferson Parrish and Algiers today and saw people who
have been abandoned by the government. We desperately need doctors and
nurse practitioners who can write prescriptions. People here need high
blood pressure medicine, insulin, psychiatric medicine, tetanus shots,
and methadone for addicts who have been forced to quit cold turkey this
week. There are carloads of people wanting tetanus shots. They need EMTs
who can go door to door.”

“They need people to come help the community survive so it's turned into
condos. Some of the aid groups have been rude and disrespectful to the
local residents. People here want solidarity not charity.”

“We are just two EMTs and a street medic. We are the first medical care
the community is getting since the hurricane. We plan to do first aid
and medical training for the community. We are getting bikes so we can
get around.”

“Lots of power lines are still down. Water is on, but not potable. An
electrical crew has shown up at the mosque and hopefully they can turn
the power on.”

“There are just some supplies we can't get without doctors, so we need
more medical help.”

The Mayday DC/Infoshop News relief van and the Mayday Mutual Aid Medical
Station can be reached at:

Masjid Bilal Mosque
1401 Teche St.
New Orleans, LA 70114
504-361-9659 (land line that does work right now)

Bork asks that people send insulin to the Food Not Bombs people, or to
try to get it to one of the caravans passing through Nashville this
weekend. Supplies can also be sent to the mosque (editor: status of mail
delivery is unknown). The medical volunteers are strongly urging other
medical people to come help out.

If you want to donate to the Mayday DC/Infoshop News relief effort:

1) Directly to Bork (jamieandjoe (at) mutualaid.org) via PayPal.
2) Via Infoshop.org (Look for the donate button at
http://news.infoshop.org/)
3) Check or money order, made out to "Alternative Media Project", sent
to AMP, PO Box 7171, Shawnee Mission, KS 66207. Please note on the check
that your donation is for "Hurricane Katrina Relief."

More resources:

Mayday DC
http://maydaydc.mahost.org/

New Orleans Indymedia
http://neworleans.indymedia.org/

Cafe Mawonaj - Katrina Relief Fundraiser Today
http://dc.indymedia.org/newswire/display/129755/index.php

Radical Reference: Socially Responsible Hurricane Katrina Relief
http://www.radicalreference.info/

Directory of Grassroots/Low-income/People of Color-led Hurricane Katrina
Relief
http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html

Hurricane Katrina Mutual Aid Relief
http://www.infoshop.org/hurricanekatrina.html

Infoshop News, Anti-copyright 2005

## PLEASE FORWARD ##
See also:
http://www.infoshop.org/hurricanekatrina.html

This work is in the public domain
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